This letter to the editor ran in the Washington Post over the weekend.
Charles Lane [“Government’s bad bets,” op-ed, June 19] suggested that the United States should “fold” on incentives for clean, renewable sources of energy such as wind. This would be shortsighted in the extreme.
American wind power built 35 percent of all new U.S. electric-generation capacity in recent years, an amount second only to that from natural gas. Wind’s primary federal incentive, the production tax credit (PTC), is the main driver behind this growth and has helped stimulate as much as $20 billion a year in private investment in the U.S. economy. Economic studies have shown that, when this revenue is taken into account, the PTC results in a net government benefit.
The United States has always invested in promising new sources of energy. Yet a recent report found that the level of support renewables receive today is much less than other developing sources received at similar points. Venture capitalists DBL Investors found: “In inflation-adjusted dollars, nuclear spending averaged $3.3 billion over the first 15 years of subsidy life, and [oil and gas] subsidies averaged $1.8 billion, while renewables averaged less than $0.4 billion.”
The United States shouldn’t “fold” on one of our best new sources of homegrown energy and manufacturing jobs. We should continue our bipartisan tradition of investment in smart policies like the PTC.
Denise Bode, Washington
The writer is chief executive of the American Wind Energy Association.